Football Team circa 1900 - the older man in the middle of the group on the right is Charles MacLean, principal of the school for many years & a keen supporter of athletics.
Football is first reported at Brockport in October 1889 in the local Brockport Republic,
"The football teams which practice at the Normal School now-a-days, afford something new for sightseers who admire out-of-door sports."The first report of a game was in October of 1890, concerning an intramural game on campus. Within a few years though Brockport's team was playing regularly against the University of Rochester and other teams. A report from the Stylus of 1914 gives some of the flavor of that era,
"The Normal Football team completed a very successful season by defeating the Medina Eleven..., the final score being 18-12. On account of the crippled conditions of some of the Normal players, the opposing team although not so fast, had a very fair chance of victory, but during the last two minutes of play, the old Normal spirit was revived and the game decided in favor of the home team. Of the seven games played, this year the Normals were defeated twice, leaving a total of five victories for the home team."Despite a successful season in 1914, the school Athletic Association voted to end football in 1915, giving as reasons the shortage of players, money problems, and that there were not as many schools to play anymore. This was when football was a particularly violent sport due to the tactics and equipment of the day, and public reaction to the injuries and deaths caused many schools to stop participating in the sport. Some years before actually, in 1905, Principal McFarlane was quoted in the Normalia, predecessor to the Stylus, as follows,
"Dr. McFarlane gave the students a talk about football in chapel Monday morning, November 27. He spoke of the number killed and injured during the season, and of the necessity of a change in rules. He said tha under the present rules he did not deem it advisable to allow the Normal team to play any teams from other schools..., but that he wished to confine the playing to the members of this school."
Apparently the ban on interscholastic play by Dr. McFarlane was subsequently lifted, but those were troubled years for football. (No students are known to have been killed playing at Brockport, but reports of injuries in games were common.)
(l-r) Coach Boozer & some of his "Boozermen" in the 1950s.
By the late 1940s football had been refined quite a bit from its earlier days, and the school had grown, especially in the number of male students. Planning began in Spring 1947, it was voted to increase the "blanket tax" $5 a semester to fund the new sport, and in Fall 1947 the newly revived football program took the field under the guidence of Coach Boozer. Although no games were won that first semester, the sport proved a popular one, and continues to be so.
The 1957 team.
Gifford Morgan & the cornerstone
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